Earlier in the day, linebacker Jason Phillips was out, after playing just two games, both preseason, in the previous twelve months. Phillips missed all of 2013 with an ACL tear, and found himself struggling in preseason action this month.
Brought in for his special teams prowess, Phillips was lapped by signings in 2014 such as Bryan Braman, Chris Maragos, and Nolan Carroll. For his five-year career, the linebacker boasts 31 tackles and one forced fumble. The back-up competition for inside linebacker now comes down to Najee Goode (a near lock), Emmanuel Acho, and Casey Matthews, though Josh Kaddu and Travis Long have taken inside reps in camp.
After hours, the Eagles completed a trade for one of Chip Kelly's favorites: an Oregon alumnus. Running back Kenjon Barner was brought on board from the Panthers in exchange for a conditional seventh round pick in 2015.
Barner, who ran a 4.39 in the forty-yard dash at the 2013 Scouting Combine, ran for 3623 yards and 41 touchdowns for the Ducks. In 2012, his senior year (and Kelly's final year with the school), Barner ran for 1767 yards and 21 touchdowns. Over four years, Barner averaged 6.2 YPA.
The running back went 182nd overall in the 2013 draft to the Panthers. There, Barner ran for just seven yards on six carries in a crowded backfield, while catching two balls for another seven yards. Barner also has special teams experience with Carolina.
With only LeSean McCoy and Darren Sproles all but guaranteed roster spots, the running back picture takes an interesting turn otherwise. Barner's competition for making the squad includes incumbent Chris Polk (sidelined the entire summer), practice squader Matthew Tucker, and impressive rookies Henry Josey and David Fluellen.
It wouldn't be unreasonable at this point for Kelly to carry four running backs, especially if the Eagles are really coveting the 185-pound, ex-track star Barner. Then again, for the fee of a seventh round pick, Barner could find himself just as expendable come August 30.
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